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MEMORIAL DAY, MAY 29th, 1880. 


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7b Me friends who have so kindly aided me in the prep' 
aralion of this Family History^ and 80 patiently ansttered 
my numerous inquiries^ I hereby ^return my sincere thanks, 


Chinbridge, Ohio^ 

July Ibth, 1880. 

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The history of that branch of the McFarreii family 
represented in this reunion, begins, so f^r as we know, 
with one 



who emigrated to America, from Calade Parish, in 
County Antrim, Ireland, in 1732; a Parish situated 
four miles East of the town of Antrim, and on the trav- 
eled road or public highway leading from the city of 
Belfast to Londonderry. It is not known from what 
port he sailed, the name of the vessel, or the exact 
date, but it is believed that he shipped from one of those 
named, as they were at that day the principal ports 
from which the protestant emigrants from the north of 
Ireland embarked for America. Of his family nothing 
is known, further, than that he had a son William, bom 
in Ireland, and probably about ten years of age at the 
time the family emigiated, and also a son named John. 
If there were any other children, born either in Ireland 
or America, no account has been preserved of them, 
and all trace of their family connection b now lost. 

This original ancestor, John McFarren, landed at 
Philadelphia, and settled at a place known as "The 
Crooked Billet," where he kept a public house or lav- 
em, so named because a crooked billet or stick of 

wood, was placed above the door as a sign, to indicate 
that it was a place of entertainment. 

The location of this "Crooked Billet^' tavern, was 
supposed, by his great-grandson, James McFarren, 
from whom the information comes, to have been on 
the west side of the Schuylkill river, and not far from 
where the Centennial Exposition of 1876 was held; 
but recent investigation of the historical records of the 
city of Philadelphia, made during the preparation of 
this paper, shoAvs that an inn or tavern, known as 
the Crooked Billet, once stood on the whaif of thp 
Delaware river, on King and Water streets, above 
Chestnut, at the end of the first alley, and was a pub- 
lic house of the longest uninterrupted succession in 
early times. It was kept by one George Farrington, 
as early as 1700, and has some historical celebrity as 
having been the first house entered by Benjamin 
Franklin when he visited Philadelphia in 1723. This 
is probably the Crooked Billet tavern kept by our an- 
cestor, John McFarren, soon after he landed in the 
city in 1732. But how lonj? he remained there, where 
he went to, or what became of either himself or his 
family is not known. His son, 

who is the American ancestor of the family, was bom 
about 1722, and in 1749 or 1760, was married to Isa- 
bella Nelson, who was bom in Ireland, August 15th, 
1723; but whether her family came from the same 
neighborhood, at the same time, and on the same ves- 
sel with the McFarrens, is not known to us; neither is 
the exact date of the marriage known, but soon after it 
lock place, Wm, McFarren and his wife removed to 

whal was then called the Forks of the Delaware, in 
what is now Northampton county, Pennsylvania, and 
settled upon a piece of land which he commenced to 
improve with the intention of secunng the title thereto 
as soon as it came into market 

The precise date of his settlement there is not known, 
but as their oldest child was horn there December 
21sl, 1750, it is certain at least, that they settled there 
prior to that lime. It is also uncertain just when he 
left this place, but it was sometime in 1753, and short- 
ly before the breaking out of the French and Indian 
Avar, which was the cause of his leaving, (he India^is 
becoming so troublesome that he was obliged to aban- 
don his improvement and remove his family across to 
the east side of the Delaware river, into what was then 
known as the "Jarseys,'''' for safety; but as he left some 
stock at the improvement, he was in the habit of re- 
turning frequently to look after and care for it. On 
one of these occassions he was accompanied by a 
young man named John Nelson, probably the brother 
of his wife, upon reaching the west bank of the river, 
they fastened their canoe in the bushes and went out 
to the improvement, where after spending some time 
looking alter the stock left there, they started to return; 
had unfastened their canoe, pushed it out into the 
stream, Nelson being seated in the stem with his riflf 
across his "knees, and McFarren about to push off, 
when an Indian, concealed in the bushes on the bank 
fired on them, the ball grazing the back of McFarren's 
neck, who, by an involuntary dodge at the instant, 
saved his life. Nelson at once raised his gun and re- 
turned the fire at the spot where the smoke was visi- 

ble from the Indian's gun, but McFarren, without wait- 
ing to know the effect of the shot, pulled rapidly to the 
other side and was soon out of reach. This event, 
and the narrow escape of her husband and brother, so 
alarmed Isabella McFarren that she Was unwilling to 
remain longer so near to the river. Wni. McFarren 
was therefore obliged to remove his family still further 
back into the "Jarseys'' for. greater safety. 

The French and Indian war having closed, William 
McFarren in 1756, returned to the forks of the Dela- 
ware, only to find that during his absence, his claim had 
been taken possession of by some one who refused to 
give it up to him. Whereupon he removed hi? family 
further down the river, and below the forks, into 
Bucks county, to a place called Shammony. Inquiry 
fails to point out any locality in Bucks county now known 
by that name, and the writer is inclined to believe that the 
name Shammony was only a corruption of Neshaming, 
a well known creek wateiing a fertile valley in Bucks 
county, along which there was a flourishing settlement 
of Scotch-Irish presbyterians and a well known church 
c'^lled Neshaming. 

No reason is known for Wm. McFarren's removal 
to that locality, but it is probable that some of his own, 
or his wife's relatives were residing there at the time.. 
How long he continued to reside there is not known,; 
but it was not very long, as his third child was born 
there November 26th, 1757, and his fourth in North- 
ampton county, September 8th, 1760, which shows 
that he had returned to Northampton before the date 
last named. 

Upon his return to Northampton county from Bucks,, 

he settled at what is known as the old "Northampton 
Homestead," situated upon the west bank of the Dela- 
ware river three miles below Belvidere, New Jersey, 
and 15 miles above the, town of Easton, at the forks 
of the Lehigh and Delaware rivers. It is a beautiful 
location, commanding an extensive view of the river, and 
also of the State of New Jersey, which slopes west- 
ward from the Scotch mountains to the Delaware 
river, while on the west the Northampton hills which 
separate the Lehigh and Delaware valleys, form a 
beautiful and picturesque background. The land is 
well watered and timbered, and the soil productive, 
but the surface is generally covered with limestone 
' boulders, of which the fences are in many places con- 
structed, i' 

Here, in Lower Bethel township, William McFarren 
continued to reside until his death, which took place 
about 1802, although the exact date cannot be ascer- 
tained. Of his size, complexion, habits, disposition 
and personal appearance nothing is known. His 
granddaughter, Mrs. Jenny Farra.; is the only person 
now living who ever saw him. She wa^ present at 
his funeral, but being at the time onlythree years of age, 
has no distinct recollection of him. He was bur- 
ied at the old Mt. Bethel burymg ground, where the 
writer saw his grave in 1863. When a lad I can re- 
member of seeing some stray leaves of a family regis- 
ter, written in his hand and can recall the names of 
his son William and his daughter Margaret, both writ- 
ten in that plain round hand, taught by the Irish 
schoolmasters of the last century. There has been 
some question as to the original spelling of the name, 


but an examination of some of his books yet in (he 
library of his grandson, the Rev. Samuel McFarren, 
D. D., shows that he spelled the name as now, Mc- 
Farrcn, and his grandsons, James and Samuel, who 
were both men of more than ordinary education and 
intelligence, always spelled it the same way. 

After the death of her husband, Isabella McFarren 
and her unmarried daughter Jane, continued to reside 
at the old homestead which had descended to her 
son William, upon the payment of certain legacies to ' 
the other children, until some time in the winter of 
1806-7, when her son having sold the place and was 
preparing to remove west of the mountains in the fol- 
lowing spring, she and her daughter removed to 
Peter Simanton^s, who had married her youngest 
daughter, and resided a few miles higher up the river, 
where she made her home until her decease, which 
look place somewhere between 1807 and 1810. 

Her granddaughter, Mrs. Jenny Farrar, who has an 
indistinct recollection of her grandmother, says that 
she was not very tall, rather stout with very dark 
piercing eyes and a long strait pointed nose. It is 
therefore from the Nelson ancestry that this marked 
feature of the family comes. The same granddaughter 
treasures to this day, two family relics of Isabelle Nelson; 
one a brass hackle, belonging to her family and brought 
by them from Ireland, probably a hundred and fifty years 
ago ; the other a pair of iron tongs, made by a Jersey 
blacksmith and presented to her when married and 
about to begin housekeeping. 

This concludes the history of William McFarren and 
his wife Isabella Nelson, who, so far as is known, were 


good, honest, Industrious and moral people, of the old 
Scotch-Irish stock, who were faithful to their day and 
generation, lived useful and honorable lives and left 
behind them names worthy to be kept in remembrance 
by their descendants, 

THEIR FAMILY consisted of three sons and two 
daughters, to wit: First, 


born in Northampton county, Pa., December 21st, 

1750, married to Jane Scott in A. D. , and in 1806 v 

removed to the western side of Seneca Lake, in the 
State of New York, where he died in 18 — , leaving no 
descendants. Second, 


born March 14th, 1753, but whether in Pennsylvania 
or New Jersey, is not known. Aunt Jane, as she was 
familiarly known, was in person rather tall and slender, 
with dark hair, black eyes, and of an evenly, pleasant, 
and rather lively disposition. After the death of her 
father, as stated, she removed to and always made her 
home with her younger sister, Peggy Simanton, and 
removed West of the mountains with the family in 
1810. Mrs. Jenny F^rrar, her niece and namesake, says 
she was rather prepossessing in her personal appearance 
and winning in her manners, that being a woman of 
delicate health, she declined to marry and did not re- 
main single for want of opportunities. She was always 
a great favorite in the family; having no children of 
her own to care for, she was ever ready at the call of 
others, always present at births, weddings and funerals, 
a sort of sister of charity, devoted to the good of others. 


After the death of her niece, Nancy Ayers, which look 
place in May, 1820, she spent much of her time in as- 
sisting the little girls left without a mother, and in so 
doing, overtaxed her strength, and no doubt hastened 
her own death. It was on Friday afternoon, Sept. 
22nd, that she returned to her home, was taken seri- 
ously ill, and died on the Monday following, (Sept. 
25th, 1820,) at the age of 67 years. She has left us 
an example of self-sacritice and devotion to the good 
ot others, worthy of all praise and deserving the grate- 
ful remembrance of her relatives and friends on this 
memorial occasion. 

The third child ot Wm. McFarren and Isabella Nelson, 
was born in Bucks County, Pa., Nov. 26th, 1757. In 
1784 he married Folly Scott, the daughter of John 
Scott, who was a man of some considerable note in 
Northampton, and himself the son of John Scott, a 
Scotchman, who emigrated to America at a very early 
day, settled in Bucks county, was an Elder in the old 
Neshaming church, and whose sons tilled various po- 
sitions of honor and profit, both in the army and con- 
tinental government. 
\ ru, fuu.j The eldest son. Dr. Moses Scott, who resided at 
ti uiji- Brunswick, New Jei*sey, prior to the Revolutionary 
^ war, was the intimate friend of General Washington, 
and by the act of Congress dated June 1st, 1777, made 
^ the ranking Surgeon of the middle District ; he was pres- 
ent a^ the battle of Princeton, pnd by the side of Genl. 
Mercer when he fell mortally wounded, and was also 
at Brandywine when General Lafayette was wounded. 
She had four brothers, named William, Robert, Al- 


exander and George. The last became a Presbyterian 
minister, removed West oi the mountains in 1799, and 
settled at Mill Creek, Beaver County, Pa., where he 
preached for many years, where he died in 1847 
and is buried. 

William McFarren and his wife, Polly Scott, contin- 
ued to reside at the old Northampton Homestead, on 
the Delaware river, until 1807, when they sold out and 
removed West of the mountains, where he purchased 
from James Holmes, the farm upon which we meet to- 
day ; here they continued to reside until their deaths, 
which took place in 1817 and 1826. But as it is with 
their historj' that we are more particularly interested, 
I will pass for the present to notice the other members 
of the family of William McFarren and Isabella Nelson, 
whose fourth child, 


Was born in Northampton Co., Pa., Sept. 8th, 1760, 
after the return of his parents from Bucks county as 
stated. On the 4th day of June, 1800, he married Su- 
sannah Campbell, and removed to Western New York, 
where he arrived and settled on the Western shore of 
Seneca Lake, on the 16th day of June, 1806, being the 
day of the total eclipse of the sun ; there he continued 
to reside until his decease in 1828, leaving to survive 
him, his widow (who died in 1856,) and a large num- 
ber of descendants, who ar^ scattered throughout the 
"Western and Northwestern States. 


The fifth child, and youngest of the family, was bom 
at the old Northampton Homestead, Dec. 26th, 1764. 



In person she was tall and slender, disposed to be 
angular rather than fleshy ; was a blonde, with lierht 
hair, blue eyes, of nervous temperament, industrious 
habits, and very much devoted to her family and friends. 

In 1795 or 6, she was married to Peter Simanton, 
the wedding taking place at the old homestead on the 
Delaware, in the presence of a large company of rela- 
tives and friends, the marriage ceremony being solem- 
nized by the Rev. Asa Dunham. James McFarren, 
her nephew, was then a lad of 8 or 9 years of age, and 
as it was his first experience at weddings, he remem- 
bered the occasion very distinctly. It was a beautiful 
bright day, and according to his recollection, one of 
the jolliest and happiest of the many pleasant days 
spent by the McFarrens on the Delaware, And here 
again, by this marriage, another connection was made 
with the Nelsons, the same John Nelson already spo- 
ken of, and great-uncle of the bride, having married 
Margaret Simanton, the oldest sister of the groom. 

After her marriage. Aunt Peggy, as she was always 
familiarly called in the family, removed with her hus- 
band to his farm, situated some miles up the river, 
and nearly opposite to Belvidere, New Jersey, where 
she continued to reside until 1810, when they sold 
out, removed West of the mountains, and settled on 
Cherry's Run, in Washington County, Pa., on the same 
lands now owned by her daughter, Jenny Farrar, and 
her grandson. Harper Simanton, where she died June 
5th, 1835, at the age of 71 years. Peggy Simanton 
was a very thrifty housewife, and it was to her good 
common sense and careful management in no small 
degree, that her husband's 'success in life should be 


allribuled. As an instance of her business lacl, il b 
related by one who was present as a guest at the maiv 
riage of her daughter Jenny, that the ceremony was 
delayed much past the time fixed, by i^ason of the ab- 
sence of the Rev. Thos. Marquis, who had been sent 
for to perform the ceremony. Aunt Peggy finally be- 
came so impatient at the delay, that she insisted upon 
sending a messenger for Esqr. Acheson to perform the 
ceremony, giving as a reason, that the victuals would be 
entirely spoiled if they waited any longer. 

For many years preceding her , decease, she was 
greatly afflicted with rheumatism, and was confined to 
her invalid chair. She continued, however, to enjoy 
the society of her relatives and friends, and her phys- 
ical sufferings were often lessened, and the weary 
hours of her declining days made more cheerful by the 
company of her nieces, the McFarren girls and their 
children, the Ayers, Duncans, Dungans and Masons, 
whose visits usually made things lively at aunt Peg*- 
gy^s. It was on a beautiful morning of June, 1835, 
that she awoke from a refreshing sleep, to which she 
had long been a stranger, expressed her thankfulness 
for the relief she felt from pain, but it proved to be on- 
ly the last spark of expiring vitality that ere the morn- 
ing passed away, had gone out forever. With her 
hvsband, who died a few months later, her youngest 
daughter who died in 1830, and her son who died in 
1871, she rests in Raccoon Churchyard, and her de^ 
scendants now livmg, number one chDd ; eleven grand- 
children ; forty-eight great-gi*andchildren, and twenty- 
five great-great-grandchildren — ^in all eighty-five. 



Having now (raced the history of our original ances- 
tor, John McFaiTen, from Ireland to America, and the 
history of his son. William McFarren, from the date of 
their landing at Pliiladelphia to the time of his decease 
in Northampton County, in 1802, together with a brief 
sketch of each of his children, I now propose to con- 
sider more in detail that of the grandson, 

who is really the ancestor West of the mountains, and 
the one to whom most of those represented in this re- 
union look as the ancestor from whom they begin to 
trace their descent. And here the question arises, 
how did he happen to remove West of the mountains? 
and what w^ere the inducements that caused him at 
49 yeai^ of age, to break up all his early associations, 
leave his comfortable and pleasant home on the Dela- 
ware, and with a large family of sons and daughters, 
make a long and toilsome journey of more than 300 miles 
across steep and rugged mountains, and over roujrh and 
poorly constructed roads, in order that he might find 
a home in the West, not so pleasantly situated as the 
one he had left, not so well watered, and not even su- 
perior in Uie quality of the soil. 


Bui Ihe question is eaiily answered, and the reasons 
entirely sutTicient. Upon the death ot his father he 
had become the owner of the paternal homestead, but 
it was encumbered with the payment of legacies to his 
brothers and sisters, who were no doubt anxious to 
have their several portions in order to provide for 
themselves ; these he was unable to pay without en- 
cumbering the farm more than he could afford to car* 
ry. By selling it, he could pay the others and still 
have enough 1*^ ft to fix himself comfortably in *he 
West, where land wps so much cheaper. Another 
reason that no doubt had much to do in determining 
his removal, was the fact that his brothers-in-law, Alex- 
ander and George Scott, were already West of the 
mountains, the tormer near Fairview, West Va., and 
the latter at Mill Creek, in Beaver County, Pa, Also, 
a number of his neighbors and Northampton acquaint- 
ances, the Crawfords, Homers, Kerrs and others who 
were no (ioub^ writing back glowing accounts of the 
advantages he would gain by removing West, the last 
two, no doubt, im. lencing him to purchase the farm 
on which we now stand, instead of going further down 
into the Pan-handle w^here his brothers-in-law (the 
Scotts) had settled. 

His family at that time, 1807, besides his wife, who 
was about his own age, consisted of his eldest daught- 
er, Nancy, aged 22 years, already married to David 
Ayers ; his oldest son, James, aged 21 years ; his second 
daughter, Jane, aged 20 years ; his second son, John, 
aged 18 years; his third daughter, Isabella, aged 16 
years; his third son, William, aged 15 years ; his fourth 
daughter, Polly, aged 13 years; his fourth son, Samuel, 

aged 1 1 years ; his fifth daughter, Peggy, aged 9 years. 

Tliey started from the old Northampton Homestead 
on Tuesday, the 11th day of May, 1807, and went the 
first day as far as Nazareth, a small village situated on 
the top of the river hills, or first range of mountains 
West of the Delaware, being followed by a large com- 
pany of neighbors and friends, who gathered to see 
them start on what was then regarded as a long 
and dilTicult journey. At Nazareth they were joined 
by a number of other families, also removing West in 
the same company, among whom were the Millers, a 
family from the same neighborhood. 

Here the condition of their wagons was carefully 
looked to, horses shod and chains for locking the wheels 
in descending the steep hills and mountains that lay in 
their way. Tlie evening was spent by the young folks 
in fun and frolic, but by the older and more thoughtful 
ones in pleasant social converse, somewhat saddened 
by the thought that they were soon to pait from each 
other, perhaps never again to meet on earth, and then 
old and young joined in singing their favorite and fa- 
miliar hymns, and the evening closed with earnest 
prayers, in which the departing friends were com- 
mended to the '^are and protection of that God in whom 
they trusted and in whose hands were the issues of 
life and death. 

On the second day they traveled as far as Allen- 
town, thence to Reading, Lebanon and Harrisbui^, 
where they crossed the Susquehanna river; thence 
to Carlisle, Shippensburg and Strasburg, at the foot of 
the first mountain ; thence to Fannetsburg, the Burnt 
Cabins, Bloody Run, Bedford, Somerset, Mt Pleasant, 


Robbslown, Williamsport, (at the Monongahela crossing,) 
and thence to Canonsburg, Hickory, Burgettstown and 
Briceland's cross-roads. I am not able to give the 
exact date of their arrival, or the number of days they 
were on the road; but the entire distance traveled was 
about 360 miles, and supposing the distance traveled 
daily to b'^ 20 miles ; which was the average they in- 
tended making each day, and they would reach the 
cross-roads on the 28lh day of May ; but John McFar- 
ren says they lost one day, were about three weeks on 
the road, and reached the cross-roads about the last of 
May, very much worn out and tired, so that we are 
probably celebrating as nearly the exact date of their 
arrival as we can fix it 

The incidents attending the journey were not, with 
few exceptions, so marked as to be remembered. The 
roads were rough, and the hills and mountains so 
Steep, that in many places the heavily loaded wagons 
were with much difficulty dragged over them. In as- 
cending, the teams were obliged to stop frequently, to 
allow the horses to blow, while some one followed 
with a stick of wood, or a boulder, to "scorch*' the wheel, 
that is, to keep it from going backwards, and at the 
same time relieve the horses from holding it 

Among the different fanulies of movers in the com- 
pany, was the Millers. One of the girls, Jane, a young 
woman 16 or 17 years of age, rode a filly of her 
own. In going up the mountains, the animal became 
80 accustomed to the frequent stoppages made by the 
teams, that she would invariably stop when they stop- 
ped, and start when they started ; and it was while go- 
ing up the mountams, that James McFarren amused 


the company by carrying a fence rail on his shoulder, 
with which he would "scorch" Jane Miller*s filly when 
she stopped to rest. 

The young girls belonging to the different families 
often visited back and forth in order to ride together 
m the same wagon. Some of them had good voices 
and were fond of singing, and enlivened the way sing- 
ing hymns and songs, and their voices could often be 
heard ringing far up and down the mountain sides, 
while the burthened teams were slowly making their 
toilsome way onward. I think it was the first Sab- 
bath afier starting, that they had determined to lay by 
and not travel ; but found so much rude company 
about the tavern where stopping, thdt they changed 
their minds and took the road. 

The arrival of a new family in the neighborhood, 
especially one with so many bright and lively young 
folks, soon brought the McFarrens plenty of company, 
and made their home a pleasant and desirable resort. 
Mother Farrar yet recalls a letter, written by Polly to 
her aunt Jane, during the next winter after their ar- 
rival here, in which, among other items of news, she 
told her aunt that a young man by the name ot Henry 
Robinson, was in the habit of visiting at their house 
occasionally, and that she noticed JaneV eyes were 
always smaller than usual the next day. 

It wai* no boubt through such influences as these 
and the desire to be together, that the relatives left in 
Northampton, were induced to follow them to the 
West. Besides Northampton was undei^ing a great 
change. The Dutch were pouring into New York and 
Philadelphia by ship loads, and spreading out over t!ie 


Jerseys and Eastern Pennsylvania in great numbers ; 
every tract of land offered for sale was bought up by 
them, and around old homes where they had long 
been accustomed to meet only familiar faces, were 
seen astrange people, dressed in a peculiar costume, and 
speaking a language they could not understand. There- 
fore in the early spring of 1810, the Simantons sold out 
and wrote their friends at cross-roads, that they were 
now ready to set f '^eir faces Westward. Thereupon 
William McFarren sent his son John back over the 
mountains, to help hi^ uncle Peter and aunt Jane to 
remove West. John took with him two horses, find 
when he reached Noilhamplon, bought a light two 
horse wagon, into which some bedding and provisions 
were packed, and this formed the carriage in which 
the women and children traveled, while their house- 
hold goods were packed into one of the regular old 
Conestoga wagon beds, and drawn by a team of four 
horsesi The exact date of their startLig is not known, 
but they aimed to make the trip at about the same 
season of the year^ and in £d}out the same time the 
McFarrens had made it three years before. 

There was the same gathering of friends and neisrh- 
bors to see them start,* the Bairds, , Rays, . Jacobys, 
Brittons, Keifers^i and many others who followed, as. s 
far as Nazareth, ^\rhere the final parting again took 
place, and the last farewell i were said. They must 
have started early, tor Jenny Simanton, then a little 
girl often years, was taken from her bed and placed 
in the wagpn while yet asleep, and was not aware of . 
theur leaving until awakened by the sharp crack of 
John McFarreo^s whip,, as be ui^ed the teams up the 


Northampton hills, West from the Delaware valley. 
At Nazareth they were also joined by other families, 
the Dusenberrys, Butlers, and others, and followed 
the same route traveled by the McFarrens, as far as 
Bedford, where they struck the Braddock road, which 
they then followed by way of Shellsburgh, Stuystown, 
Lauffhlinstown, Ligonier, Youngstown, and Greens- 
buiig, crossing Turtle Creek 12 miles above Pittsburgh. 
The wagons being heavily loadened, the women and 
children usually walked up the hills and mountains, 
and it was after the teams reached the top^of the first 
mountain West of Strasbuiig, that they found aunt Peg- 
gy sitting on a log by the roadside, and apparently ab- 
sorbed in deep and serious thought. When inquired 
of if she was homesick and wanted to return, she said 
no; but that she had just been thinking that Provi- 
dence had no doubt placed the mountains there to 
prevent people from going any further in that direction, 
and that they were flying in the face of Providence by 
attempting io do so. 

In ascending the second mountain, Jenny Simanton 
w^as walking along a path worn by travelers on the up- 
per side of the road, while the covered wagons were 
toiling up the road below, and with their tops almost 
• on a level with the bank upon which she was walking; 
as she stepped upon a rotten log the quick sharp rattle 
of a snake was heard, when those who knew what it 
meant, called to her to jump upon the wagon top be- 
low, which she quickly did. Upon turning over the 
log. Dr. Dusenberry found and killed a laiige rattlesnake, 
from which were taken twelve rattles, which were 
strung upon a string and given to her as a remembrance 

of Ihe narrow escape she had made. John McFarren 
havmg now made several trips over the same road, 
and being a young man Aill of life and fun, was 
pretty well known by most of the Landlords, and 
when they stopped at night they would sometimes 
have a dance, or some other entertainment to while 
awav the time. On one of these occasions the Land- 
lord oeing a fiddler, played for them and they had a 
dance and being at a loss for ladies, Jenny Simanton 
was ()ressed in\o the service to help make up the sett, 
dnd after indulging in jigs, reels, squares, Frenches, etc., 
somebody proposed the "cuckoo's nest,'' but the Land- 
lord said "no," that he would bet the drinks for the 
crowd next morning, that there was nobody in the 
company who could dance the "cuckoo's nest" right but 
himself. John McFarren said he would take that bet; 
whereupon the lanc^ord fiddled the proper music, 
while Simon Butler danced the "cuckoo's nest" — not 
only to the admiration of all present, but to the entire 
satisfaction of the landlord himself, who, not only gave 
up the bet, but offered to liquor then and there, and 
also, to repeat the dose next moming. 

This same Simon Butler settled down in the Pan- 
handle, and lived to be quite an old man. As late as 
the summer of 1834 or 6, he visited his friend Peter 
Simanton, with whom he had crossed tfie mountains 
in 1810, and I can remember of seeing the two old 
men sitting on the porch close together, and bawling 
into each other's deaf ears, and tryin«r to talk about 
down below. 

On the last night of their journey, the Simantons 
stayed at what was once known as Baldwin's tavern. 


on the Ghartiers, three miles West of Pittsburgh, and 
John McFarren having agreed with his sisters before 
he left home upon a signal, by Avhich he would let 
them know of their arrival, concealed, at least from the 
women, that he expected to reach their destination 
before late in the evening. Therefore, when they had 
climbed the last hill from Raccoon creek, and were 
within a short half mile of the place, now only con- 
cealed from view by the intervening timber, he proposed 
to rest the teams, and while doing so, tobk a ?pell of 
cracking his wagon whip, in which some of those in the 
company joined him. This was the si^^nal agreed upon, 
and which the folks who were on the lookout heard, 
therefore, when the movers started forward, they were 
agreeably surprised on emerging from the woods, to 
find themselves in the arms of their friends, for theie 
came uncle and aunt McFarren, and Nancy Ayers and 
James, and William, and Jane, and Isabella, and Pdly, 
and Peggy, and Samuel, all overjoyed to meet those 
from whom they had been so long separated. There 
are tw;o persons yet living who can remember that 
meeting. Mother Farrar, the little girl of ten years, 
who says : "There was about as much crying as 
laughing." And Mrs. Ramsey, a child of less than 
five years, who can remember of watching at the win- 
dow, and that a butterfly had distracted her childish 
attention when her own mother grasped her in her 
arms exclaiming, "there ! they are coming," and . ran 
out to meet them. Those only who know the impul- 
sive nature of the McFarrens, and the partiality they 
always manifested for their relatiyjes, can property ap- 
preciate the joy of that meeting, • they cried not foe 


sorrow, but for joy, because their hearts were loo full 
for utterance, and tears came to their relief. 

In due time, the Simantons purchased a farm and 
settled in Cherry \ \lley. Isabella McFarren, during 
the next year, married David Dungan, and removed 
with her husband two miles ))elow Frankfort. And 
thus the family circle was extended from Mill Creek to 
Raccoon, with Isabella at Frankfort Springs, and Nancy 
Ayers at Burgettstown, whilp Cross Roads was the . 
centre. And thus for the next six years the families * .. 
continued to live and enjoy the society of each other. 
They wei*e not a slow, considerate, judgmatical people; 
but bright and lively, and during those years when all 
were yet living, and no changes,. except the occasional 
marriage of a son or daughter, there was a great deal 
of social friendship between them, and no crowd could 
be dull and lifeless where James or Polly were present 
The girls thought notliing of a ten ruile's ride on horse 
back ; were mostly good horsewomen and some of them 
rather expert riders. But in winter when there fell 
deep snows, such sled loads of romping girls and boys, 
as went sleighing to Raccoon and Frankfort, with their 

fUn and frolic was enough to drive dull care distracted* .^^a^ 

. ■• -.J • " . 

 i I 



The first change in the family after they settled at 
Cross- roads, was the marriage of Jane, to Henr)' Rob- 
inson, which occurred February 9th, 1 809, the winter 
before the Simantons and aunt Jane moved out from 
"down below," as they always spoke of Northampton, 
but as she lived much at home for some years, and 
was back and forth frequently, even after she had 
removed to a home of her own, her marriage causr 
ed very little change In the family. 

The first death in the family was that of the mother, 
which happened November 29th, 1817. Resulting 
from injuries received by a fall while the g[irl3 were 
absent attending Jenny Simanton's wedding in the 
month of March previous. She was bom in J756i 
and was consequently aged 61 years at the tim^ pf 
her death. In personal appeaiance she was a woman 
of medium size, dark hair, black eyes, of an amiable 
disposition, patient, industrious, and much devoted 
to her family and friends, and much esteemed by 
all who knew her, as a devoted wife, kind mother, 
and sincere christian. 

The next death was that of Jane Robinson, who 
died May 23d, 1818, aged 31 years, leaving two sons 
and one daughter to survive her. The former reside 


in Kansas and Iowa, and the descendants of the latler 
ut Washington, Guernsey Co., 0. She is represented 
in this Reunion by her son, William McFarren Robin- 
son, of Montgomery County, Kansas. Her descendants 
now living number two children, nineteen grandchil- 
dren, seventeen great-grandchildren and one great- 
great-grandchild—^in all thirty-nine. 

The next death in the family was that of Peggy, 
the youngest daughter, who died July 1st, l^Td^at the ffl ^ 
age of twenty-two years, under circumstances some- 
what sad. She was engaged to be married to a wor- 
thy young man, David Proudfit, and the weddingr day 
had been fixed for the following Christmas, but before 
that time he was taken' seriously ill. When it became 
evident that he would not recover, she was sent for 
and remained with him to the last; his funeral 
taking place on the day that had been fixed for their 
marriage. The shock was too great for her sensitive 
nature, and from it she never recovered ; and notwith- 
standing every eiTort was made to divert her mind from 
the subject, she continued to pine throupli the winter fol- 
lowing, and when Spring came drooped like a lily and 
on the first of July passed away. She was buried at 
Florence, where her grave may be seen in the McFar- 
ren row, near that of her father and mother. In per- 
son, she was regarded j\s quite handsome, having light 
hair and blue eyes, and was possessed of a very sweet 
and pleasant disposition. 

Oi> the 12th day of July, Polly McFarren 'was mair- 
ried to David Duncan. Because of the recent death of 
her sister, the wedding was a very quiet one ; only the 
immediate friends being present, and the bride d^^ssed 


in mourning. The next death was that of William, 
the third son, who died March 6th, 1820, aged 28 years. 
He had been married for some years to Abigal Cald- 
well, and at the time of his decease was engaged in mer- 
chandising at the cross-roads. In personal appear- 
ance, he was a man of medium size, fair complexion, 
light hair and blue eyes, of more than ordinary intelli- 
gence and good business habits ; he gave promise of 
much usefulness, but was cut off in the prime of early 
manhood, leaving a widow and one daughter to sur- 
vive him, both ot whom have since died, leaving no 

On the first day of May following, Nancy Ayers, the 
oldest daughter, died, at the age of 35 years, after a 
married life of 16 years, leaving a husband and six 
children to survive hen She was married to David 
Ayers on the 19thof November, 1804, at the Northamp- 
ton Homestead on the Delaware ; removed with the 
family when they crossed the mountains in 1807; lived 
for some years u» the house built by her father up at 
the road, and until her husband purchased the farm 
of Hugh Edgar, now owned by Arthur Campbell, near 
Bui^ettstown, to which they removed, where she con- 
tinued to reside until her decease as stated. In person, 
she was about the size of her daughter, Mrs. Newell, 
with dark hair and eyes, of rather delicate constitution, 
a faithful wife and kind mother. Her grave is in the 
McFarren row, at Florence, where her body was laid 
to rest sixty years ago. Her descendants now living, 
number four children, eleven grandchildren and twelve 
great-grandchildren — in all twenty-seven. 

The next death was that of aunt Jane, September 


I 27 

1820, as already stated, and thus, within three years, 
no less than six members of this family who had cross- 
ed the mountains died and were laid to rest in the 
Florence cemetery. These dispensations wrought a 
great change in the McFarren home, which not long 
after the marriage of Polly, was broken up, and the 
father went to reside with his son James, where he 
continued to make his home until his decease, which 
took place on the sixth day of July, 1826, aged seven- 
ty-one years, four months and twenty days. 

I have tried to learn something of his personal ap- 
pearance, disposition and habits, but without much 
success. In size, he was about five feet ten inches 
in height, and weighed about 150 pounds. His com- 
plexion dark, with dark hair and eyes, rather heavy 
eyebrows, and in size and appearance, much such a 
man as his son John ; in disposition, he was rather quick 
and impulsive, with something of that restlessness so 
characteristic of his sons James and John, and which 
still manifests itself in some ot his grandsons. His 
nephew. Rev. Jno. W. Scott, D. D., son of the Rev. 
George Scott, of Mill Creek, says : "Uncle McFarren 
"was a man of more than ordinary intelligence and 
"strength of mind for a farmer of but common educa- 
"tion„ of good judgment, firm and decided opinions, 
"and commanding the respect and confidence of those 
"who knew him. I had myself a considerably inti- 
"mate association and intercourse with him in his ripe 
"old age and entertained for him a high degree of 
"veneration and respect In politics he was a decided 
"Democrat of the Jefferson School and consequently a 
"war man ^n 1812. Uy father un the other hand was 



"a Federalist of the old John Adams stamp, and a 
"peace man. The consequence was that as the quar- 
**rel between Great Britain and the United States be- 
"gan to brew, the two brothers-in-law used about that 
**time to embitter their friendly visits to each other, 
by pretty sharp political discussions about the justice 
and policy of the war,, until their wives, my mother 
"and aunt McFarren, laid ^heir interdict, tabooing the 
"subject of politics from their family visits. In relig- 
"ion he was a Presbyterian and an exemplary member 
"of the old Cross-road church. I cannot speak posi- 
"tively as to his revolutionary services, but am under 
"the impression that he was engaged in some depart- 
"ment of the continental service, and have also 
"heard my father speak of Uncle William having been 
"engaged while yet a stripling of 17 years, in the capac- 
"ity of a home guard, to protect the settlements along 
"the Delaware from the depredations of straggling par- 
"ties of Tories and Indians who infested that region 
**during the progress of the revolutionary war." In 
addition to the testiniony of Dr. Scott, my own im- 
pression gathered from what I learned from both Jas. 
and John McFarren, also from my own mother, anci 
uncle John Simanton, is that William McFarren and 
the two Simantons, Peter and James, were all in the 
continental service. But in what capacity, or in what 
particular line of the service, I cannot state. His broth- 
er-in-law, Robert Scott, certainly rendered very 
hard and honorable service in the Jersey campaign. 
William McFarren was himself 18 years of age when 
the revolutionary war began, and it is altogether im- 
probable, that a stout hearty young man, subject to 


military service, could remain so near the scene of ac- 
tion during the entire war, when men were so much 
needed, and were so often drawn upon by heavy 
drafts to fill up Washin^on's Army, without being in 
the service. It was always conceded that Peter Sim- 
anton was entitled to a pension if he would apply for 
it; and among the revolutionary relics long preserved 
in the family, was what was called a horse pistol, a 
most formidable looking veapon, which would in- 
dicate that he belonged to some branch of the mounted 
service, and the understanding always seemed to be 
that the parties named had all been in the same kind of 
service togetheV. . 

His funeral, which v/as very largely attended,* took 
place on Saturday, July 28, 1826, he was laid to rest by 
the side of his faithful wife who had preceded him 
nearly nine years before, in the same row with his son 
and daughters, ard adjoining that of his old friend and 
companion in airms, James Simanton. His descendants 
nun^ber twenty grandchiH^en, seventy-four great- 
grandchildren, sixty-eight great-great-grandchildren 
and one great -great-great-grandchild (the last being 
Mary Francis Steel, the great-great-granddaughter 
of his daughter Jane) — in all 1C3. 



The next to follow the father was Isabella, who 
died January 27th, 1832, aged 41 years. She was 
born in Northampton, March 23rd, 1791 ; removed 
West of the mountains in 1807 ; was married to David 

Dungan , A. D., 18 — , and soon after removed 

with her husband to the Dungan place, near Frankfort 
Springs, where her married life was spent, and where 
she died in 1832, as stated, leaving a family of three 
sons and five daughters to survive her. In person, 
she was of medium height, slender and rather delicate 
form, with dark hair and black eyes, a bright, lively 
woman with the McFarren disposition strongly de- 
veloped, and to those who have seen the latter, was re- 
produced both in personal appearance and disposition, 
in her own daughter, Sarah Ann Dungan, now deceased. 

One beautiful incident connected with the history of 
Isabella McF.^rren, often told over at the family fire- 
sides, must not be omitted on this occasion. In the 
month of May 1791, she was one of the babes present- 
ed for baptism, on a christening occasion at Mt. Bethel. 
Among other infants presented for baptismal rites on 
the same occasion, was a babe named Mary Moody, 
both were sprinkled from the same bowl. This in it- 
self was but an ordinary event, but the after lives of 



these two babes thus joined in baptism, gives it inter- 
est. Tiie parents of each removed West of the mount- 
ains ; the one settling at Cross-Roads, the other at Mill 
Creek. Isabella McFarren became the wik of David 
Dungan, and died in 1832, leaving a family of small 
children motherless. In 18 — , Mary Moody became 
the second wife of David Dungan, and a mother to the 
children of her baptismal mate, a trust that she most 
sacredly discharged, proving herself one of the most 
devoted of wives and faithful of mothers, to Ihe hus- 
band and children of her deceased friend. Isabella 
Dungan was also buried at Florence, and her descend- 
ants now living, number throe children, eighteen grand- 
children, and nineteen great-grandchildren-^n aU 

A period of thirty years now intervened, during 
which there were no deaths in the family, except that 
of Peggy Simanton, in 1835; then that of Polly Dunr 
can occurred in 1860, (May 1st). She was bom in 
Northampton, October 2nd, 1794, was married to 
David Duncan, July 12th, 1819, and was therefore 
sixty-six years of age at the time of her decease. 
Of all the daughters, Polly was the most perfect sample 
of the McFarren type, she had black hair, very dark 
eyes, and the Nelson nose to perfection, quick in her 
' preceptions, and ready in reply, she possessed a vein of 
wit and irony that made her company verv enjoyable; 
being a good conversationalist and an inveterate tease, 
nothing delighted her more when a girl, than to 
entertain some bashful young fellow who had come 
to visit some of the other girls, when, by her shrewd- 
ness and tact, she would be sure to lead him into mak- 


ing, or assenting to, some absurd or ridiculous state- 
ment, to the great mortification of her sisters, who 
were always in agony until they could get their beaux 
out of Polly's hands. 

. She was a great favorite among the country girls of 
her acquaintance, who often made her their confidant 
and the custodian of some of their most profound se- 
crets, which she would sometimes relate with a relish 
that made them very amusing. ^ ' ' ' 

Among others, were old Jimmy B.'s daughters, who 
were rather common-place girls, but very much inclined 
to keep up with the fashions, so far as dress was con- 
cerned. On one occasion they had been visiting in 
an adjoining neighborhood where there was what was 
then known as a Seceder Church, which these girls 
attended for the first time, and it being a communion 
occasion, they were much impressed with the man- 
ner. in which the communi'^ants approached and re- 
tired from Wyq tables. The custom being for some old 
fellow with an open psalm book in his hand, to lead 
off, followed by his wife and daughters, going in at one 
end of the table and marching through to the opposite 
end, when they countermarched to the place of begin- 
ning, and thus kept on singing: and marching all the 
while until the table was filled, when they were seated 
and served ; and then retired in the same manner, 
while others took their places. This parade struck 
the B. girls very forcibly, especially the long green veils 
worn by the ladies. And upon their return they gave 
Polly McFarren a very vivid description of the whole 
performance and of their impressions, saying "that it 
was so awful nice, 'jist to see them all a marchin' like 


a muster, with their long green wales a wavin\ and 
tliat mam had said, when they were old enough, 
tjiey should have silk dresses and green wales, and 
jine the meetin\ too." Polly could mimic the girls to 
perfection, and to hear her tell this in her best vein 
was a rich treat indeed. The last time I ever saw 
her, her daughter Molly, since better known to us as 
cousin Moll Clendenning, (then a young woman in her 
prime, and I think without exception, one of the best 
looking and brighlest of the McFarrens,) and I, af- 
ter much coaxing, induced aunt Polly to repeat the 
story of the B. girls and the green wales, which she 
did with as much zest as ever, and to our great amuse- 
ment. Her married life lasted forty-one years. She, 
too, was buried at Florence, and her descendants now 
living, number four children, sixteen grandchildren, 
and nineteen great-grandchildren — in all thirty-nine. 

the oldest son, was the next, born at Northampton, 
June 12, 178U; he died at Florence, Novembers, 1866, 
aged 80 years, 4 months and 22 days. He removed 
West w^ith his father's family in 1807; in 1810 was 
married to Jane Miller, the same girl whose filly he 
*'scorched" while crossing the mountains, and for 53 
years owned and resided upon the farm where we are 
now assembled. ITiis dwelling house, barn, and out 
buildings, are all improvements made under his direc- 
tion. These trees under which we are gathered, were 
planted, pruned, and cared for by him, and here many 
of those now present have often shared his hospitality 
and enjoyed his company. In personal appearance, 
he was a genuine McFan-en, with the characteristic 


Nelson nose, a black eye, that kindled with interest, 
sparkled with pleasure, and twinkled with wit and 
humor. He had an earnest gaze, partaking sometimes 
of the knarvelous, as though he was taking in all you 
said with the most verdant ei*edulity, but the expression 
imperceptibly faded into a peculiar twinkle of the eye. 
and a working of the lips, that often left one in doubt, 
whether he was really astonished at what was being 
told him, or only trying to quiz you. His height was 
five feet ten inches, with a well proportioned frame, 
his usual weight being 1 60 pounds. Neat in person, 
tusleful in dress, and with hair prematurely gray, his 
presence was commanding, and would attract attention 
in any crowd ; his laugh was not only hearty but pecu- 
liar, in which his entire face seemed to join. For 
many years he filled the olTice of a justice of the peaco, 
the duties of which he discharged with such ability 
and integrity as to give great satisAiction ; he was also 
at one time a member of the Legislature of this State 
and was recognized as more than an average mem- 
ber of that body. 

He was always active in the chnrch and Sabbath 
school, where at different times, he ably and faithfully 
filled almost every official position from that of ruling 
elder in the former, to superintendent of the latter. 
He cherished, with a devotion almost sacred, the tra- 
ditions of his family history, and it is to his careful and 
accurate preservation of dates and facts, that the writ- 
er is principally indebted for the early history of the 
family. He preserved and used for more than twen- 
ty-five years, the same stick or piece of wood to fasten 
the spring-house door, until it became almost worn 


out with long use, and look great pleasure in showing 
it to his visitors and telling its history. He was a man 
of good sound judgment, in whose opinions and in- 
tegrity his friends and acquaintances had the fullest 
confidenf'e ; was a charming companion, and whetner 
among children or adults he was equally at home and 
equally interesting. Although he lell no descendants 
to perpetuate the name, he probably did more to give 
chaivictcr to the family than any other of William McFar- 
ren's children, and his name should ever be cheilshed 
with affection, and gratefully remembered by the de- 
scendants on this memorial occasion. 

the fourth son, was the next He was born at North- 
ampton, July 9th, 1796; was eleven yeai-s of age when 
the family crossed the mountains ; was married Febru- 
ary, 1827, to Miss Harriet Caldwell, a sister of his 
brother William's widow, and died at Blairsville, Pa., 
August 1st, 1870, aged 73 years and 22 days. Of his 
early life very little is known, except that he soon de- 
veloped a taste for books and study, and a corres- 
ponding distaste for work and farming, and several 
stories are still preserved in the family going to show 
that fact. One is, that having upon some occasion un- 
hitched the team with which he had been working 
and put the horses in the stable, he went sauntering 
off to the house in an abstracted sort of mood carrying 
the pin used to fasten the door in his hand, and with- 
out having unharnessed or fed the animals he had 
been using. 

Another is, that havintr been ordered by his father 
to hitch up the teann and go to the mill after some 



griiuling the family were needing, Samuel became so 
absorl)ed in tlie pages of a book lie was reading, that 
he forgot all about it. Therefore, when Uie old 
gentleman returned to the house s^nie hours later, he 
was much surprised to find his hopeful son still por- 
ing over his book ; being out of patience, he proceeded 
to scold him shari)ly for his neglect and want of at- 
tention, to all of which Samuel remained entirely ob- 
livious; when having at last reached a good stopping 
place he laid down his book and began telling his 
father about what he had been reading as though the 
latter had been sitting there all the while in waiting to 
hear how the story ended. Of course there was no 
use in trying to make a farmer out of such material as 
that; Samuel was thereupon sent to Wasliinglon Col- 
lege, wlicie he graduated in the class of 1822. 

His cousin, the Rev. John W. Scott, his fellow stu- 
dent and college chum, says: ''Though in the class one 
"year ahead of me, he stood facile princeps^ and after- 
**wards became eminent in his clerical profession as a 
^'theologian, a pastor, and as a man of integrity and 
"influence." After studying theology and being licens- 
ed to preach, he was settled at Congruity Church, Oc- 
tober 3, 1827, where he continued to labor until by 
reason of his advanced years and growing infirmities, 
he was obliged to resign liis charge, when he r lired 
from active labor and continued to reside at Blairsville 
until his death. In person, he was five feet nine inch- 
es high, but of slender build, pale complexion, rather 
delicate features, having deeply set brown eyes, heavy 
eyebrows and a high forehead ; the effect ot which 
was somewhat increased by his habit of always comb- 

/ ( 


ing his prematurely gray nair straight backwards; he 
stood perfectly straight, and was brisk in his move- 
ments unt'i his hist ihness. He was buried at Blairs- 
ville, Pa. His descendants now Hving, number six 
children and eight grandchildren — in all fourteen. 

the second son of William McFarren and Polly Scott, 
bom at Northampton, June 21st, 1789, was the last 
survivor of the family, and died at Cambridge, Ohio, 
July 30th, 1871, aged 82 years, one month an4 nine 
days. His life was the most irregular of any of the 
family, and yet he outlived them all and attained a 
greater age than any other member. 

At the time of the removal West in 1807, he was 18 
years of age, a goodhorseman, an expert teamster and 
the manager and director of the party. To him the 
occasion was one full of rovelty and adventure, and 
he entered i^'ito it with all the enthusiasm of his young 
and aivlent disposition. Having successfully conduct- 
ed one party over the mountains in 1807, he was sent 
- back by his father in 1810, to bring over the Sim- 
antons, the particulars of which have already been 

For many years after the family settled at Cross- 
roads, Tohn took an active interest in military affairs, 
and held the office of Adjutant of the First and Second 
Battallions, 66th Regiment, Penn'a. Militia, which held 
their annual musters at Hickory and Burgettstown. 
He was residing at Florence, in August, 1812, when 
the surrender of Hull at Detroit, threw the '^ole 
northwest into the w^ildest state of alarm. When \he 
news reached Florence, John McFarren being the mil- 


itary head of the place, held a consultation with Rev. 
Elisha McCurdy, the spiritual head of the place, and 
the unanimous conclusion was: that the occasion was 
extraordinary, the danger imminent, and that some- 
thing must be done immediately. Whereupon runners 
were sent out to ride all night, and notify the people 
to meet at Bui^eltstown next day, for the purpose qj 
raising volunteer to march against the British and 
Indians, who wei-e reported to be advancing upon the 
defenseless frontier, and killing and scalping men, 
women and children without mercy. Jno. McFarren, 
in order to give the tiling an appearance of authority, 
donned his regimentals, including an enormous blood- 
red cockade and a sword, and rode all night, taking 
the northern circuit, while McCurdy and somebody 
else stirred up the other side. As might be expected, 
they succeeded m creating a great excitement and 
alarm, and collected a large crowd at Burgettstown 
next day, where three hundred volunteers were rais- 
ed, equipped, provisioned and marched within forty- 
eight hours towards the frontier as far as New Lisbon, 
Ohio, where Col. Ball was then stationed in command 
of a camp of instruction. 

The military head and the spiritual head of this ex- 
pedition preceded the march of the battallion on 
horseback, keeping some miles in advance to guard 
against surprise. When they reached New Lisbon, they 
found every thing orderly and quiet, and when they 
remonstrated with Col. Ball at his indifference to the 
danger that threatened the peace of the country, he 
threatened to place them under arrest, for causing a 
foolish and unnecessary alarm. Thereupon they re- 


turned and reported to the column that had by this 
time come up. The troops, very indignant at 
the insult put upon their Adjutant and Chaplain, drew 
up in line and fired a volley to let Col. Ball know 
what they could do, and then went into camp. The 
next day being Sunday, McCurdy preached them an 
able sermon, and on Monday they started back, reach- 
ing Florence on Tuesday evening, very tired, and 
greatly to the relief of their families and friends, who 
had never expected to see their faces again. 

John McFarren was thrice married ; first, to Abigail 
Smith, who died in 1817; second, to Elizabeth Mercer, 
who died in 18 — , and third, in 1836, to Mai-garet 
Black, of Gettysburg, Pa., who survived him. From 
1848 to 1871, it was my fortune to know John Mc- 
Farren very intimately, and it is to his recollection 
that I am indebted for much if this history. He was 
then about sixty years of age, much impaired in gen- 
eral health, but full of vitality, and taking an active in- 
terest both in politics and religion, a zealous Presbyteri- 
an ever ready to stand up for the faith of his fathers. In 
size, he was five feet ten and one-half inches high, of 
slight build, weighing not over 145 pounds. He had 
the Nelson nose, a dark piercing eye, an earnest ex- 
pression of countenance, was full ot fun and humor, a 
pleasant and entertaining companion ; rather impul- 
sive in his disposition, ^vai-m and hearty in his friend- 
ships, but somewhat bitter in his resentments. 

For some years before his deaih he was much af- 

, flicted with cataract of the eyes, which finally resulted 

in total blindness ; for about two years he was wrapt 

in darkness. The vigor of his mind, however, was 


iiiiiihl)airod; he coiilimicd to enjoy the pociety of his 
relatives and friends to the hist, and of all subjects, 
none delighled him more than to talk ajjout North- 
ampton and the Cross-roads. His memory of events, 
persons, places and dates was remarkably good. It 
was during those daik days of his closing life, that 
the writer would often take an atlas to his room and 
turning to the map of hi^ native state, travel with him 
in imagination across the mountains, recalling ever)' 
incident of the journey, which he could remember 
with wonderful accuracy, and thus he whiled away 
many a weary hour and furnished items >vhich have 
been incorporated into this family historj' for our in- 

He gradually wore away, and on a quiel: Sabbath 
evening in July, 1871, calmly sank to rest. His body 
sleeps in the cemeterv at Cambridge, Ohio, beneath a 
plain Scotch granite monument, which bears this in- 
scription : 




At Cambridge, Ohio, July 30, 1871, 


His descendants now living, number one child, two 
gmndciiildren and one great-grandchild — in all fcur. 

I have now traced the history of the McFarrens for a 
period of nearly 150 years; from the landing of the 
original ancestor at Philadelphia in 1732, to the death 
of his last surviving great-grandson at Cambridge,* 
Ohio, in 1871. One of his great-granddaughters, Mrs. 
Jenny Farrar, of Midway, Pa., bom August 11th, 1799, 


at Northampton, Pa,, still surdves to participate in 
this Reunion long to be re*nembcred by those present. 
Of the descendants of his grandsons who removed to 
Western New York in 1806, nothing further is known 
than has already been stated, but of those of his grand- 
son William McFarren, and of his granddaughter Peg- 
gy Simanton, who removed to Western Pennsylvania 
in 1807 and 1810, now living, there are so far as 
known, of the fourth generation, one ; of the fifth gen- 
eration, thirty-one ; of the sixth generation, one hun- 
dred and twenty-three; of the seventh generation, 
ninety-three; of the eighth generation, one — ^in all 
two hundred and forty-nine. 



Of The Reunion, Held May 29th, 1880, 

The Mantes and Addresses of Those (Present, 

Th : subject of holding a Reunion of the McFarren 
family, after being talked over for some years, finally 
took shape by the issuance of the following card : 

Mr. , A Reunion of the descendants of Wil- 
liam McFarren, deceased, will be held at Florencet 
Pa., on next Decoration Day, May 29th, 1880. Report 
at Burgetlslown Station, on the P. G. & St. L. R. R., 
at 9 o'clock, A. M., where conveyances will be ready. 
By special arrangement, through trains East and West 
will stop at Burgettstown that evening. 

W. M. DUNCAN, 1 Committee of 
May 1st, 1880, S. C, FARRAR, / Arrangements. 

This card was addressed to all the descendants 
whose places of residence were known to the com- 
mittee, and was so well responded to that at the time 
fixed a large company of the relatives met at the sta- 
tion named, and proceeded to the Old McFarren 
Homestead, one mile East of Florence, now owned by 

Jackson, where the meeting was converted into 

B family pic-nic; and a dinner, under the direction of 

t 43 

Mrs. Harriet Duncan, of Allegheny City, and Mrs. Ettie 
Farrar, of Raccoon, was spread upon the grassy lawn 
in the old McFarren orchard. 

While dinner was being prepared, the relatives who 
had thus come together from distant places, many of 
whom had never met before, and others not for long 
years, were busied in exchanging greeting, renewing old 
friendships, and making new ones ; and laughed and 
chatted, and kissed and cried, ai they recalled the 
past and talked of those dear friends whose memories 
they had met to commemorate, while the children^ 
unmindful of the past, and gay and happy as birds, 
romped and enjoyed themselves upon the green grass 
as only childi*en can. A count of those present, show- 
ed the number to be seventy-nine. 

To wit : Mrs. Jenny Farrar, of Midway, Pa., the 
only survivor 


born in Northampton County, Pa., in 1799, and now 
in her 8 Ibt year, ^A€o/<ie«f /mw^ representative of the 


Mrs. Elizabeth Ramsey, - Ontario, Richland Co., 0. 
Mrs. Mary Newell, - Bucyrus, Crawford Co., O. 
M;^. Abigail Evans, - Delaware, Delaware Co., O. 
Mr. Wm. McFarren Robinson, Independence, Mont- 
gomery Co., Kas. 
. Mr. John S. Duncan. - - Cross-Creek, Pa. 

Mr. Wm, McFarren Duncan, Allegheny City, Pa. 

Miss Jane Duncan, ... McDonald, Pa. 

Mr. Alex. Duncan, ... Steubenville, O. 


Miss Mary Dungan, - 
Miss Isabella Dungan, • 
MifeS Harriet McFarren, 
Mr. Robert S. Farrar, 
Mr. Wm. McFarren Farrar, 
Mrs. Tulia McElroy, 
Mr. Simanton Farrar, 
Mr. Harper Simanton, 
Mrs. Margaret Campbell, 
Mrs. Isabella Patterson, 

Frankfort Springs, Pa. 
Frankfort Springs, Pa. 

- Blairsville, Pa. 
Cherry Valley, Pa. 

- Cambridge, 0, 

- Hickory, Pa. 
Cherry Valley, Pa. 
Cherry Valley, Pa. 

Midway, Pa. 

- Boliver, Pa. 


Rev. D. A. Newell, 
Mr. Hugh Lee Duncan. 
Miss Hanna May Duncan, 
Miss Ida Jennie Duncan, 
Mr. S. Clark Farrar, 
Mr. John Farrar, 
Mr. George W. Farrar, 
Mrs. Mary L. Morgan, 
Miss Helen B. Faixar, 
Miss Jennie Farrar, 
Miss Hattie Farrar, 
Mr. Henry Farrar, 
Mr. Samuel Farrar, 
Mr. Peter S. Fan^r, - 
Mr. Silas W. Farrar, 
Mr. Edwin Clendenning, 
Mr. John Clendenning, - 
Mrs. Ella Taylor, 
Mrs. Delia Moore, - 
Mrs. Sallie McCarty, - 

Clark, Mercer Co., Pa. 

- Cross-Creek, Pa. 
Cross-Creek, Pa. 

- Cross-Creek, Pa. 

Raccoon, Pa. 

Raccoon, Pa. 

Braddocks Fields Pa. 

Bridgeville, Pa. 

- Cambridge, 0. 
Cherry Valley, Pa. 
Cherry Valley, Pa. 
Cherry Valley, Pa. 
Cherry Valley, Pa. 
Cherry Valley, Pa, 
Cherry Valley, Pa. 

- Wheeling, W. Va. 

- Pittsburgh, Pa. 
Cambridge, 0. 

Allegheny City, Pa. 
Allegheny City, Pa. 


Miss Emma Campbell, 
Miss Cora Campbell, - 
Mr. Watson Campbell, 
Mrs. Alice Johnson, 
Mrs. Laura Patterson, 
Mrs. Ida Cleland, 
Mrs. Hanna Moore, 
Miss Carry Duncan, 

Midway, Pa. 

Midway, Pa, 

Midway, Pa. 

Raccoon, Pa. 

Cross-Creek, Pa. 

Frankfort, Pa. 

Frankfort, Pa. 

Steubenville, 0. 


Master Charles Farrar, 
Master Preston C. Farrar, 
Master S. Clark Farrar, 
Miss Josephine Farrar, - 
Miss Bessie Morgan, 
Miss Jennie F. Morgan, - 
Miss Blanch? Duncan, 
Miss Haddie McCarty, 
Miss Hallie Moore, 
Master Duncan Moore, 
Miss Baby Cleland, 
Miss Kit tie Simanton, 
Miss Maggie Simanton, - Cherry Valley, Pa. 

Master Waller Simanton, - Cherry Valley, Pa. 
Miss Venna Patterson, Cross Creek, Pa., aged two 
months, being the youngest descendant present 


Mr. J. C. Evans, Delaware, Delaware Co., 0. 

Mr. William C. Campbell, - - Midway, Pa. 

Mr. Billingsly Morgan, - - Bridgeville, Pa. 

Mr. William Moore, - - Allegheny City, Pa. 

Raccoon, Pa. 

Raccoon, Pa. 

Raccoon, Pa. 

Raccoon, Pa. 

Bridgeville, Pa. 

- Bridgeville, Pa. 

Allegheny City, Pa. 

Allegheny City, Pa. 

Allegheny City, Pa. 

Allegheny City, Pa. 

Frankfort Springs, Pa. 

Cherry Valley, Pa. 


Mr. Robert Cleland, - 
Mr. Riisseil Moore, 
Mrs. Harriet Duncan, 
Mrs. Ettie Farrar, - 
Mrs. Ellen Simanton, 
Mrs. Lida Clendenning, 
Mr. Patterson, 

Frankfort Springs, Pa. 

Frankfort Springs, Pa. 

- Allegheny City, Pa, 

Raccoon, Pa. 

• Cherry Valley, Pa. 

Wheeling, W. Va. 

Cross-Creek, Pa. 


Mr. J. L. Proudfit, Esqr., 
Mrs. J. L. Proudfit, 
Mrs. Margaret Duncan, - 
Mrs. Betsy Campbell, 
Mrs. Margaret Fulton, - 
Miss Livingston, 

Cardville, Pa. 

- Cardville, Pa. 
Cardville, Pa. 

- Florence, Pa. 
Bui-gettstown, Pa. 

- Florence, Pa. 

Dinner being announced, Hon. Jno. S. Duncan was 
made Chairman and called the meeting to order, saying 
that he presumed all present knew the object of the 
meeting to be a reunion of the descendants of the 
McFarrens; that as dinner was now ready he would 
not detain them with a speech, but give notice that 
after dinner was over, they would have the Family 
History read and such other exercises as might be 
thought proper. Thanks were then returned by Rev. 
David Ayers Newell, to the Father of all mercies, for 
social blessings, and especially for this reunion of rela- 
tives and friends who had come together from distant 
homes to unite in commemoration of ancestors whose 
work was finished and who have passed to their 

A bounteous dinner was then served under the old 


family apple trees in regular pic-nic style, while old 
and young enjoyed themselves eating, talking, laughinj? 
and repeating family stories and recalling the memory 
of many a loved one who once enjoyed the same 
walks and sat beneath the same shades now occupied 
by their descendants. 

Dinner over, the choir sang "Home Returning." 
Then the family history was read by Wm. McFarren 
Farrar, of Cambridge Ohio, which was so acceptable 
to the descendants present that a committee, consisting 
of Col. Wm. M. Duncan, Prof. S. C. Farrar and Edvin 
Clendenning,was appointed to supervise its publication. 

A number of family relics were then produced and 
curiously examined, while their history was being 
repeated. : 

An old pocket Bible once owned by Jane McFarren 
and carried by her across the mountains in 18C7, now 
in possession of her granddaughter, Letitia Witherow, 
of Washington, Ohio. 

Also, an old hymn book once owned by Peggy 
Simanton. and brought by her from Northampton in 
1810. Robert Farrar could remember of having 
learned from the same old book a verse of the hymn 
commencing — 

"There is a land of pure delight, 
Where Saints immortal reign," etc., etc. 

which was taught to iiim by his grandmother during 
one Sabbath day that she kept him at home, while his 
own mother went to church, when he was not more 
than three years old, and the grandmother an invalid 
confined to her chair. Thereupon, it was proposed 


that all join in singing the same old hymn to the tune 
of "Pisgah/' which was done, and the old orchard was 
made vocal with an air no douot often sung by ances- 
tors whose voices have long been silent in death, and 
who probably joined in singing the same hymn to the 
tune of Pisgah, at Mt. Bethel, more than a hundred 
years ago. The exercises at the grove were then con- 
cluded by singing the long metre Doxology: 

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow." 

to "Old Hundred," when the company returned to 
their conveyances and repaired to the burying ground 
at Florence, where it was intended to decorate the 
gr ives of the dead, but this part of the programme 
was interfered with by the rain, which prevented, and 
the company returned to Burgettstown, where, after 
many embraces and tearful farewells, they parted, 
happy that they had been permitted to meet together 
and have once more upon earth such a happy reunion. 


The following regrets were received from members 
of the family who were unable to attend : 

Chariton, Iowa, May 26th, 1880. 
Wm. M. FARRAR, aambridp"), 0. 

Dear Sir: — I very much regret my inability to be 
present at the reunion of the McFarren cousins, at 
Florence, Pa., May 29th. This is no ordinary 
disappointment to me, but my wife's health is so poor 
that I cannot leave her. Please convey to those pres- 
ent my kindest regards and sincere regrets at not being 
able to be with them. The more I write or think 
about the matter, the stronger is my regret, and so I 
close with love to all. Yours, 


NE^v York, May 19th, 1880. 
Dear Sirs: — Your notice of a reimion of the descend- 
ants of Wm. McFarren, at Florence, Pa., on May 29th, 
duly received. It would aflford Mrs. Fulton and my- 
self great pleasm*e to participate with you, and be es- 
pecially gratifying to the writer to visit his native town. 
But distance and time prevent, and hoping that you 
may have a pleasant and happy reunion, we are, very 
truly yours, MR. & MRS, E. M. FULTON. 

COL. WM. M. DUNCAN, 1 , 
PROF. S. a FARRAR. /^"• 



Brookfield, Mo., May 29lh, 1880. 

Dear Coiuiin: — Allow me, through you, to extend 
kindly greetings to the friends assembled at the 
McFarren reunion to-day, and many regrets that 
circumstances prevent my being with you. The place 
where you meet, the McFarren Homestead, 's a familiar 
resort of my childhood and recalls many pleasant 
memories of my youthful days. Florence I ever 
remember as my birthplace, and in the old brick 
church, of long, long jigo, I sat under the instruction 
of James McFarren, Esqr., as superintendent of our 
Sabbath school. He has long since passed to his 
reward, but his faithful teachings abide with me still. . 
May the happy meetings and greetings of this reunion 
live in the memories of those who participate in the 
enjoyments of the occasion, and also with the absent 
ones whose hearts are with you to-day, cheering us 
as we journey through life, and affording a sweet 
foretaste of that more perfect reunion, where we may 
all meet around the throne of God to part no more 
lorever, is the prayer of a McFarren descendant. 


Hannibal, Mo., May 19th, 1880. 

To COL. W, M. DUNCAN, \ 
and PROF. S. C. FARRAR. j 

Dear Friends: — Your card of invitation to be pres- 
ent at a reunion of the descendants of Wm. McFarren, 
dec'd, came duly to hand. We had both hoped to be 
able to be present with you, but we have been sick all 
the past winter and are unable to undertake such a 


journey. It would give us great pleasure dear friends 
to be with you, but God rules otherwise and we must 
submit. With our best wishes for the peace, prosperity 
and happiness of all the friends, and hoping we may 
meet you all at that great reunion beyond the river, we 
are, very respectfully yours. WILLIAM JOHNSON, 


Wilmington, III., May, 1880. 


Dear Gmsin: — Please express to the friends present 
at the McFarren reunion on the 29th inst, my sincere 
regrets at not being al»le to meet with them. No one 
could enjcy such an occasion more than myself, but 
sickness in my own family prevents. Affectionately, 


Washington, Ohio, May, 1880. 
Dear Friendn: — I do most deeply regret my inability, 
from severe bodily affliction, to meet with you at the 
old home of our honored ancestors. This renewing 
of old friendships, and forming of new, between those 
of kindred blood, will be a rare pleasure indeed. As 
a relic of some interest, I send you by Mr. Farrar, the 
pocket Bible carried across the mountains by my 
grandmother, Jane McFarren, when she came to her 
Western home, in 1807. That this reunion may prove 
a rich feast of friendly intercourse, and a source of 
lasting pleasure to all who attend, is the sincere wish 
of one of the cousins. LATITIA WITHEROW. 


St. Louis, Mo., May 24th, 1880. 

Dear Sir: — Your letter notifying nie of the intended 
reunion of the clan McFarren, at Florence, on the 
291 h inst, is at hand, and if the rude fates could be 
broken, I would most gladly be present on that occa- 
sion, to greet again the living, and strew flowers upon 
the graves of the dead. But just now, and for three 
weeks, my office work crowds me, and I cannot now 
revisit the dear old hills of my native county. Re- 
member me kindly to all, especially your mother; how 
much I would like to see her again ! Wishing health, 
long life and happiness to you and yours, and all of 
kith and kin, I am truly yours, JOHN JOHNSON. 

Philadelphia, May 28th, 1880. 

Dear Cousin: — I had hoped to be able this day to 
start for the purpose of meeting my dear friends at the 
reunion, but owing to my ill health I regret exceedingly 
that I am compelled to deny myself that pleasure. It 
is, however, pleasant for me to think of so many of 
you being permitted to meet at the dear old home and 
exchange greetings once more. And, although, for a 
short time, I hope that each one may return to their 
own homes highly gratified and profited, and that we 
may all live in anticipation of that grander and more 
permanent reunion. Yours, affectionately, 



t-^^^i TAiu lEdWDro rm OBTxunoin or tbx uausisn. ^^-» 












Nancy Ayer$t 

IEHzRtwth Rnmiiejr, 
Mary Newell, 
Wm. M^Fftrren Ayer», 
June AyerH, 
Harriet L. Young, 
Abigail Evans. 






X „ .. f Wm. MoF. 1 

Jane Hobinmmf \ john Robin 

i Isabella Wi 
JqJiH J Sarah MeCracKen. 

r Jane Dungan, 
{ Levi Dungnn, 
I Wm. McF. I>ung«n, 
Isabella Dungan \ Sarah a. Dungan. 

' Warren S. Dungan, 
Mary Dungan. 
Ifanl>ella Dungan, 
Margtirctta Dungan. 


Polly Duncan^ 


t Peggy,* 

' Jane, 
Nancy Munn, 
Andrew C, 
Robert Nelson. 

John 8. Duncan, 
J Wm. McFarren Dunean, 

ElizjibethM Licingstone, 
\ JamcH M. Duncan, 

Mary A. /rtrin. 

Alexander 8. Duncan, 
^Jane Duncan. 

Sarah Fulton^ 
Nannie Cunningham, 
Mary H'ood, 
Kate McFarren, 
Harriet McFarren, 
Samuel McFarren. 


fS e o ^ 

5^ C^IS 



Jenny Farrar^ 

John Farrnr, 
Robert S. Farrar, 
Wm. McFarren Farrar, 
Aaron Farrar, 
Samuel L. Farrar, 
Julia A. MeElroff, 
L Simanton Farrar. 

{Martha Jane Simantoa, 
Margaret Campbell, 
Ifiabella Patterson, 
Harper Simanton. 

f Marsaret A. FinU^, 
Isabella Johntton \ W ill iam Johnston, 

( John Johnston. 

• Left no Helra. Names by Marriage are In Italic letters. 


The following dales have been . obtained since the 
foregoing wjis printed; see pages HO and .31 : 

Isabella McFarrcn was married to David Dungan 

Mary Moody was married to David Dungan, 18.35. 

Isabella Dungan died January 27th, 1831. 

JUN2 9 1965